Rajon Rondo may be on the road to superstardom in America -- check out this Foot Locker commercial -- but he's still trying to make it internationally. The Celtics point guard was held out of Team USA's 86-85 exhibition win over Spain Sunday. (Derrick Rose started in his place.) Why no love from Coach K? Comcast SportsNet New England's A. Sherrod Blakely says there's nothing to worry about.
The Green and White's lone Team USA participant is still on solid footing.
In addition to Rondo, Team USA also held out Indiana's Danny Granger and Minnesota's Kevin Love.
Team USA and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski explained the lineup changes following the win.
"[Stephen] Curry has been out, so we wanted to give him a chance and we already know what Rondo and Granger can do, and Love was out," Krzyzewski told reporters afterward. "That was our plan tonight, just to take a better look at our team."
This was, after all, only an exhibition. Then again, Rondo struggled during Team USA's defeat of Lithuania Saturday. In 14 minutes of play, Rondo managed only 2 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 turnovers and an assist. (Thanks to ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg for tallying those numbers.)
Still, Rondo's omission didn't quite sit right with Pete Thamel of The New York Times.
The most surprising part of the game was the absence of Rondo, who had been the starting point guard, for the entire game. Krzyzewski said that Rondo and Danny Granger did not play because they were veterans and the coaches knew what they were getting out of them. Rose said that Rondo was sick with a sinus problem, although that notion was later dismissed.
Perhaps he should've popped a couple of Sudafed ... Anyway, here's hoping Krzyzewski has faith in Rondo and inserts him back into the rotation when the FIBA World Championships begin this weekend. Blakely seems to think that'll happen:
As for Rondo, it appears he has done more than enough to earn the trust of Krzyzewski who spoke glowingly about the Celtic all-star last week when Team USA was training in New York City.
"We're going to be in some very difficult environments," Krzyzewski said at the time. "And Rondo . . . Rondo is as tough as anybody. He's trying to just lead our team, get everybody involved, play great defense and win. That's who he is."